Since the original series began, variations of the show "Who Do You Think You Are?" have aired in Canada, Austalia, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Norway, Israel, South Africa and Russia, showing that genealogy is a popular pastime around the world. And while we Americans are tracing our ancestors back to other continents, people across the ocean are looking for family lines that migrated to the United States.
Last year, while wearing my independant researcher hat, I had the pleasure of helping noted Danish author and humanitarian Hanne-Vibeke Holst learn about part of her family. Hjalmar Bertelsen was born 1897 in Hallund, Denmark and immigrated to Chicago in 1928. In the 1930 census he was working as a linotype operator, but by 1933 he was operating a "butter and egg" business in the heart of Chicago's Danish community. He later became the publisher of the oldest Danish newspaper in the U.S. You can search ChicagoAncestors.org, keyword "Bertelsen" to learn more and to see where Hajlmer lived.
Hanne-Vibeke was delighted to find a family connection to another journalist and writer. The show finally aired in Denmark on February 29th. It can be seen on the Danish Broadcast Corporation (DR) Ved Du Hvem Du Er website. If you don't want to watch the Danish part of the story, fast forward 45 minutes and 45 seconds into the show to see the "Chicago" story (mostly in English).
Although these programs don't show all the behind-the-scenes research, they're a great way to hear the stories of other families. And who knows, maybe we'll find famous relatives too!
By Ginger Frere, Reference Librarian